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Sherlock Holmes returns to Playhouse stage!

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Pioneer Playhouse of Danville, Kentucky’s oldest outdoor theatre, is proud to present as its fourth show of the 2017 summer season a witty new take on Sherlock Holmes hot off the New York stage: Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery by comedic genius Ken Ludwig.

Ludwig, known for such popular comedies as Lend Me a Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo, has transformed the well-known Sherlock Holmes mystery, Hound of the Baskervilles, into a murderously funny adventure. The play opens with Sherlock taking on a strange new case: the male heirs of the prosperous Baskerville line are being eliminated one by one. To find their ingenious killer, Holmes and Watson must brave the desolate moors of Devonshire before a family curse dooms the newest Baskerville heir. The intrepid investigators must make their way through a dizzying web of clues, silly accents, disguises and deceit as an ensemble cast portrays more than forty characters. Does a fiendish hound really prowl the moors or is it all a hoax?

“We wanted to do this brand new show because it reminded us so much of a play we did a few years ago: The 39 Steps, which was adapted from the old Hitchcock movie,” says Heather Henson, Managing Director of Pioneer Playhouse. “Audiences absolutely loved that show. They loved how the actors played many different roles, changed costumes and sets right before their very eyes. When we found this new play we just knew our patrons would enjoy that same kind of fresh portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, a character that continues to be hugely popular.”

While an ensemble plays many different supporting roles, two main characters remain the same throughout; Sherlock and Watson. Sherlock is being portrayed by Kentucky native and son of basketball legend Cotton Nash, J. Richey Nash, who appeared as the iconic sleuth in the Playhouse’s 2015 production Sherlock’s Secret Life. Watson is being played by Liam McDermott, who has wowed audiences this season with a wide array of characters, including Charles Dickens, a reporter infiltrating a convent, and most recently, Woody, a beloved comic character from the books-turned-plays by local author Angela Correll.

Taking the helm as director of Baskerville is Patrick Kagan-Moore, professor of Dramatic Arts at Centre College in Danville since 1991. While he’s worked professionally throughout the state, this is Kagan-Moore’s first time directing at Pioneer Playhouse, and he says of the experience, “I’m having huge fun.” When asked about the challenges of mounting such a complex show, Kagan-Moore, says, “having a light-footedness, an economy of motion is key. The acting ensemble must make both quick-footed and strong choices.” Kagan-Moore was particularly interested in directing this play because “Sherlock Holmes is a significant character in literature. In a sense, Sherlock is the Information Age writ large, and that’s fascinating.”

Costumes for Pioneer Playhouse’s production of Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery were designed Sarah Haga in the Steam Punk style, which combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction.

Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery will run July 25-August 5, nightly Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:30 pm. A home-cooked dinner featuring hickory-smoked BBQ pulled pork or chicken, and farm-fresh sides, is served at 7:30 pm each evening before the show. (Vegetarian option is available if ordered 24 hours in advance.) A bar serving wine, beer, and mixed drinks will be open for those 21 and over. Reservations are recommended for the show, required for dinner. (Dinner & Show: $32; Show Only: $18.)